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Buying a sword abroad.


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I can only speak for oneself, but personally, I find foreign airports stressful enough without worrying about a katana in my suitcase.

 

Guess it depends on whether you're (or you're not) used with traveling abroad. We're talking about democratic and developed countries here, it's not like someone is going to attend sword shows in Somalia :lol:

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Ryan air no, but I had to fly several times with low cost companies and I don't see how this would have any negative impact in clearing the customs. If anything, it would make things easier since these airlines usually fly on smaller, less busy airports.

 

But, as I said, it all depends on how used is a person with traveling, dealing with foreign authorities and so on. I'm what the French call debrouillard, managed to talk my way trough the Libyan crossing point and customs at the height of Gaddafi's reign (coming from Tunisia, talked them into giving me and my small group the visa on the spot - didn't had any Americans with us though :lol: ), so I don't think I'd find Ryan air to be such an ordeal, so to speak :D

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I have a client who several years back bought an un-papered Katana into the UK which turn out to be a task. They claimed he has no proof it was antique, I imagine customs is familiar with certification from some of the well known organizations. I then wrote customs a letter indicating I was a Japanese antique sword dealer and a registered business and I personally attested to the authenticity of the piece.... it gave the situation some headwind, not sure how much but my client refused to wait any longer and so he had his lawyer write up a letter stating he would take legal action if the item was not released. Few hours later the blade miraculously cleared and was handed over to Fedex. Maybe sometimes all its takes is a little muscle!

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Just thought, I wonder what would be the reaction, if one was to use the Customs own descriptive terms, and note the declaration label thus.

 

'ANTIQUE Japanese OFFENSIVE WEAPON'.

 

or am I misled and thats exactly as the label reads?.

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With the understanding of sword etiquette that we observe, my imagination conjures up the vision, of bored custom people at 3am somewhere, doing a Tom Cruise impression with my latest acquisition.

 

That was the same fear I had whilst waiting for my sword to clear customs (coming from the U.S. to Canada). I had visions of the customs officers brandishing the naked sword and then scratching it up carelessly. Fortunately it was shipped by FedEx and there was an overkill of documentation in an envelope addressed to customs on the outside of the package. There was also no attempt to deceive customs as to the true value of the sword. It was declared at full value. Perhaps that is important also, so as not to arouse suspicion.

 

Has anyone ever brought a sword with them on a flight to or from Japan? Perhaps this question belongs in a separate thread. Say you were planning a trip to Japan anyway, and decided to bring your sword along to submit for shinsa in Tokyo. Would that be too difficult, or would it be better to ship it separately by FedEx. I presume it would have to be checked in as baggage or cargo. Then, wouldn't you be worried that it might be lost or misdirected by the baggage handlers? Not the most trustworthy group of people, I fear. Just curious if anyone has any experience with this.

 

Alan

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Then, wouldn't you be worried that it might be lost or misdirected by the baggage handlers? Not the most trustworthy group of people, I fear.

 

If you fear that it may be "lost" as in stolen, the thieves operating in the luggage area usually go for small and obviously valuable items. If you put the sword in a sealed PVC pipe there's very little chance of it being stolen (or damaged for that matter).

 

Of course, if they actually lose your luggage (as in boarding it to the wrong plane or something like that) then things can go south, depending on the destination and what happens there. (no so unusual to see an unclaimed luggage stolen from the claim area by other passengers, particularly in 3rd world countries )

 

If you want to be 100% sure, then probably something like Fedex with insurance at full value is the way to go.

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Has anyone ever brought a sword with them on a flight to or from Japan?

 

Alan, I've carried iaito to & from Japan on several occasions. With the right paperwork & a lockable case, no problem at all. Haven't done that with Nihonto, though.

 

Ken

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Dennis,

Is it easier to import a sword personally into the UK, ie actually carry it thru customs.

If this was the case prehaps you could purchase internationally and have the item shipped to a fellow board member in France and then cross the channel and pick up said item . As i understand France is a day trip from some area's of the UK .

Chris

 

Chris i didn't ignore your point, but intended to get back to you earlier. The suggestion you voiced is not outside the realms of possibility, it could also be expanded to include more than one buyer, with a single person pickup! And yes day trips to France are a common occurrence, as long as your plans don't include extended motoring the other side. Good one.

 

The original subject of my posting is in regards of mailed items, by all the organisations that handle that, and the involvement of UK customs at ports of entry. This was open to members in all countries, to offer their advice and experiences, which with a relish they did.

 

The subject of accompanied baggage on aircraft, or ship is a separate subject altogether, and as has been suggested should be a separate topic.

 

Adrian!

As this was your intention to move to this area, I suggest ( with the utmost respect to your ability, to calm troubled waters internationally) that it is you that opens the said thread, with your own original posting.

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No. There are cases where quite large items (and swords) have disappeared. John

 

John,

 

It's undeniable there are such cases (large items stolen from luggage in airports), but they are very rare, at least according to the airport policemen who was seated next to me on a very long flight in 2010 :D . According to this fellow, due to the way the cameras are set in the baggage processing area (in pretty much any airport these days), the thieves who seem to always exist between the baggage handlers have only a few seconds to operate, if they want to avoid being captured.

 

Apparently they manage to figure out the blind spots (hence some sort of cat and mouse game with the airport police, that periodically rearranges the cameras) and use these blind spots to go trough "promising" luggage pieces. But they need to do this VERY fast (as to avoid that the fellow(s) who monitor the cameras takes notice of the fact that a luggage doesn't follow the circuit in due time) and the stolen items need to be small enough to be concealed on the body of the thieves after the theft takes place.

 

That's why I think it would be very difficult to get out of the luggage processing area with a long and rather thick PVC pipe without anything appearing on the cameras.

 

 

 

The subject of accompanied baggage on aircraft, or ship is a separate subject altogether, and as has been suggested should be a separate topic.

 

 

Denis,

I thought we were discussing about bringing home a sword purchased abroad. The obvious choice (if bought in person, at a show) is to bring it home yourself, which in many cases will imply going with it trough an airport.

 

While some seem to believe that this would be the ordeal of their lives, others disagree. John even offered to do this himself for other members, if expenses are paid :D I believe that was the first post when this subject was discussed.

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There's no doubt about it. The only problems are 1. that the cost is very high and 2. you'll get your money back if something goes wrong, but if the item is one of a kind (as it's the case with most swords)...

 

For a low to mid-level sword and speaking strictly from an economic point of view, it makes no sense to go to a show, buy a sword then ship it to your home using FEDEX when you are traveling to your home anyway.

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The subject of accompanied baggage on aircraft, or ship is a separate subject altogether, and as has been suggested should be a separate topic.

 

 

Denis,

I thought we were discussing about bringing home a sword purchased abroad. The obvious choice (if bought in person, at a show) is to bring it home yourself, which in many cases will imply going with it trough an airport.

 

While some seem to believe that this would be the ordeal of their lives, others disagree. John even offered to do this himself for other members, if expenses are paid :D I believe that was the first post when this subject was discussed.

 

 

1. No Adrian! YOU were discussing bringing home i.e. accompanied baggage. The post relates to mailing not at all the topic! Which you are determined to divert in an attempt to impress.

 

2. Do you honestly, not see the humour in Johns amusing post?

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Sorry Denis, you need to understand that this is a web forum, people will only understand what you write down, not what you had in mind. If your title was "Importing a sword trough mail/courier services" I wouldn't have started discussing bringing it home in your luggage.

 

Tbh it's hard to understand why you try to stir the pot every time when I'm around (with personal attacks and so on). Get over it (whatever this "it" may be) already...

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Its now obvious that everyone else is out of step but you. :bowdown:

 

Yes, if the entire world can be reduced to you, then you're probably right :rotfl:

 

Cheer up mate, it's not like I'm your sworn enemy or something and you need to fight me whenever you see me :roll: .

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Dennis is a gent Adrian,he is helpful,and never usually provocative, i have nothing but respect for him.

I also find your posts interesting and thought provoking, you both have much to give on this forum, i hope things,can be resolved, this is a particularly important post,as getting swords in our over protective country,is a pain in the ar...,i am feared to death of importing swords,yet I had a meat cleaver, from eBay,handed to me In black duck tape by the postman,as he couldn't fit it in the letter box, ebay are strange indeed in England.

Hope your both o.k.

Best regards. Ian bellis

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Denis, I did the following as I was expecting hassles with German customs (anything just remotely looking like a weapon gets these guys highly agitated) when someone sens sends a sword from abroad:

I formulated a nice letter in German to be attached to the outside of the package marked "for customs attention" in BIG letters. In the letter I very politely described the sword in detail, its historical value and age as well as asking them to only please handle it with great care, wearing soft gloves and not to touch the blade under any circumstances.

I also stated my cell phone number asking them nicely to phone me if there are question. The result: they did read the letter, never opened the package themselves, but asked me to open it when I picked it at customs to inspect it (they never wanted to touch it).

Maybe this would help with customs in other European countries as well; these guys obviously don't have the knowledge to handle Nihonto ( and to be honest, how could they?). Anyway, we have a small local customs office, and by now they know me and are interested if packages arrive from Japan :D

 

Andreas W

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Dear Denis,

Last evening Alex ( a member here and I exchanged a couple of PMs. ) Perhaps it is a bit late to add to the thread, ... but I have had considerable experience in shipping and receiving interesting packages from around the world. Here is an excerpt from our email :

 

Now as far as having a sword shipped to me by Mail, or Private Carrier, ... I insist that a copy of MY COUNTRY'S LEGAL STATUS regarding importation is included ( which I supply the seller in advance of shipping ) in an outside attached envelope containing also Customs Declaration and Statement of the shipper ( seller ) along with a clear warning as to not handling the item without gloves and a caution that although carefully packed the item is sharp. In the majority of cases Customs will not even open the parcel. I have even had a note attached from Customs thanking me for my professionality on one occasion ( which really surprised me ).

 

Anyway, ... I hope this post is not simply covering old ground, but even if it is, it is worth repeating.

 

... Ron Watson

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Both Andreas and Ron thanks.

 

Some very good tips there from you both, its obvious that a lot of consideration has to given, to the after purchase, and ones involvement with the seller before posting. Having done all you can, and of course putting insurance in place, its all then in the lap of the Gods.

 

A lot of questions have been answered,and with luck not only for me. So thanks all.

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Stephen

 

Can always trust you, to bring a measure of lightness and humour to a topic, never hurts. :laughabove:

 

Now heres one for you: I misread your first words and saw it as " Never buy a broad sword" huh! what on earth is Stephen on? Broad sword? Re-read and had a chuckle. :badgrin:

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